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CIN@CHC: Alonso belts his first career homer

CHICAGO -- This is one of those games the Reds would like to forget.

Or, as manager Dusty Baker put it: "It was an ugly day at Wrigley Field."

Shaky pitching, sloppy fielding and poor hitting were all contributing factors in the Reds' 11-4 loss to the Cubs on Saturday.

Things began to unravel for the Reds and starter Johnny Cueto -- who lasted just 3 2/3 innings, giving up five runs on seven hits -- in the three-run fourth inning that knocked the right-hander out of the game.

Leading off the fourth, Reed Johnson hit a high popup to shallow center, and second baseman Brandon Phillips and center fielder Drew Stubbs charged to make the catch. Phillips had the ball in his glove but collided with Stubbs and dropped it.

"That was a big play that started everything in motion," Baker said. "That's a tough ball. ... They're both running with their heads up looking at the ball, so they're not really hearing or seeing each other."

Phillips lay on the ground for several minutes while the medical staff examined him before being helped to his feet. Though he stayed in the game, he was lifted for pinch-hitter Todd Frazier in the Reds' half of the fifth inning.

Early reports are that Phillips sprained his right ankle, but a trip to the disabled list is unlikely.

"I'm feeling all right," Phillips said. "I just talked to the doctor, and he said just make sure I don't sit around -- just walk around a little bit and keep [my] foot elevated."

Cueto was pulled after he gave up a bases-loaded walk that put the Cubs up, 5-2.

"He wasn't sharp," Baker said. "He wasn't sharp early in the count. We were hoping that he would get sharp like he can sometimes. He was kind of spinning off and missing the outside part of the plate."

A bright spot for the Reds came when Yonder Alonso hit his first career home run, off Carlos Zambrano in the sixth inning.

"Obviously, I wanted to get that win," Alonso said, "but it's nice to hit a home run and just put it in so it's not a 'zero' any more."

Sam LeCure relieved Cueto and furthered the damage when he gave up five runs on five hits in the fifth, putting the Reds in an eight-run hole.

The Reds continued to miss scoring opportunities. After leaving the bases loaded in the first inning, they left six more runners onboard throughout the rest of the game. They went 3-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

Over the last two games, the Reds are 4-for-19 (.210) with runners in scoring position and have stranded 21.

The loss is the Reds' third straight, and they have to win on Sunday to avert a sweep.

"We've got to shake it off, because tomorrow we've got to go at it again," Alonso said. Comments